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The Almond and the Seahorse 2022 Movie Review
Sarah (Rebel Wilson) and Toni (Charlotte Gainsbourg) do not know each other but both have a spouse who has suffered brain damage and lost his memory, followed by Dr. Falmer (Meera Syal) in a specialized nursing home. While the situation of their respective spouses deteriorates and they lose their autonomy, requiring hospitalization, Sarah and Toni have an affair, as improbable as it is reparative.
“The Almond and the Sea Horse” is about a tough subject. If in the mind of the public, the memory losses which affect the elderly in the context of Alzheimer’s are known, such disorders can also affect much younger people. Joe, Sarah’s husband, has memory problems following brain cancer and Gwen, Toni’s spouse, following a car accident. In both cases, the cerebral connections involve near-daily memory loss, and each day they wake up with no memory of what happened or how much time has passed.
One can imagine the harshness of this reality for the spouse. Whether it’s for Sarah who has been going through this for two years or Toni for fifteen years. And when things get worse, hospitalization is inevitable, with the feeling of rupture and loss for those left alone.
The story of these four characters is told with sensitivity. And fortunately they are interpreted by a talented and daring international cast for a British independent film: the Australian actress Rebel Wilson (who we are more used to seeing work in a comic register), the French Charlotte Gainsbourg and the Danish Trine Dyrholm. The fourth main character, that of Joe, is interpreted by the Welshman Celyn Jones who co-signs the realization (with the director of photography Tom Stern) and the screenplay.
“The Almond and the Sea Horse” (the title refers to two parts of the brain) is adapted from a play by Kaite O’Reilly by the latter and therefore Celyn Jones who had already played the role of Joe in the original play.
If there is an attempt to create a certain visual lyricism and to extract a dose of optimism and humor from a serious subject, the film unfortunately tends to fall needlessly into melodramatic errors, in particular via music that is too present. .
“The Almond and the Sea Horse” was presented in competition at the Dinard British Film Festival where it received the special jury prize. As of this writing, the film does not yet have a French distribution planned but will be released in US, Australian and UK theaters.
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